Signup date: 18 Mar 2015 at 11:28am
Last login: 29 Sep 2023 at 1:00pm
Post count: 412
You have made the decision to change supervisors. From what you have described, you have every reason to. 9 months is a long time to be working completely on your own.They are bullying you.
When you told the head of department that you want to change to another supervisor, did you give him/her the name of your new supervisor? If not, could you as a matter of urgency look around for your future supervisor and start asking if they are ok to take you on? This person could be from a different institute completely, since you are self funding anyway. After you have identified this new supervisor, ask your head of department or post grad coordinator to action the change.
Please check thoroughly to ensure that your new supervisor is better than your current one.Talk to the students too to learn more about the personality of the new supervisor and see if it is a match to you. Check their expertise too.
You are venting a lot of things which you should have used to negotiate with your supervisor and the research org.
Why do you sign the final contract if you do not agree with it? Why did you not ask or negotiate it? Does the final contract state the salary which you are disagreeing on?
If you have signed the final contract with the lower salary clearly stated without any negotiation, then you have sealed your fate. There is no point lamenting about it anymore, unfortunately. Unless you claim you signed being given misleading information or that you were pressured to sign.
First of all, I would like to congratulate you for finding courage to walk away from an abusive PhD supervisor. It is not easy, and you have done well seeking help and getting out of that situation.
It is normal to feel stressed when you see your abusive ex supervisor, especially if you just left his lab. Yes, having a coffee break is good to avoid him (we all need a break anyway). Otherwise, maybe imagine him as a tiger wearing a pink tutu for a laugh?
As time goes on, your stress level will drop gradually and you will learn to ignore his presence, especially when your current PhD runs at full swing. Know that he cannot hurt you emotionally anymore and continue to recover and grow stronger as the days go by. As part of your recovery, would you consider mentoring other troubled students, at your uni or maybe through online forums like this? It is quite therapeutic actually.
Good luck to your current PhD. Learn from the past and march forward. You will be fine now...
So sorry to hear you had to cope with this when you just came back from sick leave.
I agree with Tudor_Queen that you should speak to an experienced and trusted academic about this. Do you have a second supervisor or postgrad coordinator you can talk to? If not, do you have someone who can be a mentor and help you? Do you also have a students union who may have someone who knows the postgrad academic system in your uni?
I know you are at the verge of leaving. But, are you far off from finishing the minimum experiments required to start writing up your PhD? If you are near, can you quickly finish and go? If you are far and cannot take it anymore, could you either write up as master or look at changing PhD supervisor rather than quit completely?
Bullying is not acceptable, even if your supervisor is considered the top of her field. Unfortunately, it is also very common. When I had issues previously, I consulted with the students union and postgrad coordinator to understand the postgrad system and how best I could move forward with whatever little I had. I also got myself a mentor whom I chat with about my results and gave me encouragement when my supervisors were seriously damaging me. I finished my PhD, despite being burnt so badly. I would have preferred to change supervisors but my uni system plus me being in late candidature did not allow this. I hope this encourages you. Yeah, so as Tudor_Queen said, you are not alone.
Have a think about this deeply and make the right decision for you. Whatever your decision is, know that it is yours and no one has the right to criticise you whether you want to stay or not. No one knows you better than you. All the best.
I would not worry about references from your supervisor.
I disagree with DrCorrine. I got jobs and volunteer work both in academia and non-academia without any reference from my supervisors. Same with my friends. Whilst you are a PhD student or even a postdoc, they instill this fear culture about reference letter that basically made you a slave to your PhD supervisor or PI. Not completely true.
I can tell you that while it is not ideal to not have your supervisor's reference letter, you will live on and still get jobs after you have left your supervisor's side. People may ask, as they have me, why I did not have my supervisor's reference. I just answer - things happened and we don get along. Amazingly, people actually understand and don't press on it. And honestly, after that first job post PhD, you no longer need your PhD supervisor's reference anyway.
So, Tudor_Queen, there is hope yet. All is not lost.Keep your chin up and bravely march on.
From someone who has been through that shit,
This is the exact situation of a friend of mine. During PhD, he had a major falling out with his primary supervisor which resulted in said supervisor writing to the graduate school claiming that he had falsified his data to try to kick him out of his PhD. The uni investigated and found my friend innocent and got his PhD. His co-supervisor had also stepped up due to the whole mess.
My friend then tried to publish his PhD paper. Included the primary supervisor only for him to write back saying things like this data is not sufficient and the paper is crap. Understand that the primary supervisor had mainly been absent during my friend's PhD aside from the major issues he caused in my poor friend's final year. All the other co-authors were impressed with quality of data and ready to submit. After they all discussed, they decided that they will not include him (since he was not interested and did not contribute anyway). Paper was published in high impact factor journal.
Not sure how this would help your case, but do understand that you are not alone.
Yes, you are in a bad situation. But you still have one final chance to salvage things.
The important thing that you have mentioned is that you have enough results to finish a PhD. which means that the only thing stopping you from getting your PhD is your thesis writing.
Do not rely on your supervisors since they have not helped you. Calm down and think - Is there anyone, anyone at all who is an experienced researcher who is willing to read your thesis and comment for you. This person may not be necessarily in your field. Bear in mind that your examiners may not be directly in your field, so as long as you are able to write rationally and persuade the reader, you should be alright. So identifying this reader is key.
Invest in a thesis proof reader as well. Having two sets of eyes - the experienced researcher and thesis proof reader should be helpful in getting you across the finishing line.
I won't worry about publication at this stage. It would be ideal to have at least one, but it will not be the determining factor in getting your PhD at this stage. Work on your thesis.
I really feel for you. You are in a very bad situation beyond your control.
Depending on which uni you are in, they may or may not let you change your supervisor so late in your candidature. Could you consult the postgraduate coordinator of your institute or graduate school for advice?
If they do not allow you to change supervisor, is it possible for you to write up what you can now and get out of there soon? Depending on how much data you have and how much you can mentally and emotionally endure, could you either write up as a master or a PhD? (may not be the best master or PhD thesis, but as long as you can pass, that is all you can do at the moment)
If you need further guidance, could you get an informal mentor who could have a look at your data and with whom you can discuss your work without fear of repercussions from your supervisor. This person needs to be very experienced and trustworthy. Does anyone come to mind?
I won't count on your supervisor for any reference even if she does agree in future. I worry backstabbing from her. Do you have a back up referee? Maybe a postdoc or lab manager? Doesn't have to be the same group.
Keep calm as best you can. Good luck.
It happens that some PhD project has no funding. However, you do not want that to be your case because life as a PhD student in those projects is super terrible.
It takes months to apply and hopefully obtain funding. In addition, you mention that the research question and ethics have not been properly thought through. AND your supervisors are super busy and not reachable. This sounds like a combination of a potential disaster.
Since you are only 2 months in and have your stipend, you may wish to search for another supervisor ASAP. People change supervisors all the time, especially at the early stages of their PhD. Try to find one who is not collaborating closely with your current supervisor. Or better yet, find one from the same uni but different institute.
The decision is your hands. Good luck.
Rather than think about whether you can do a PhD, have you deeply thought about what you want as a career after the phd? You did not mention this at all.
Do you want to work in academia? If yes, then a PhD is the way to go. However, you may wish to check on the job prospects of a PhD in humanities to help you make your decision on whether to invest all those years of PhD study.
If you want to do a PhD to get out of the supermarket job, I would suggest that you reconsider aligning your current skills to get a better job. Would a diploma or masters in business, sales, marketing or client management help you climb the career ladder better in addition to your work experience?
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